With the March Madness/NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning on March 15, thousands of people are already searching for ways to watch their favorite basketball teams. Luckily, it’s 2016 and there are more ways than ever to watch your bracket get busted without cable. Here are some options.
Options for Watching Games on CBS without Cable
The games on CBS are the easiest to watch. CBS has been kind enough (or smart enough) to offer multiple free avenues. First of all, CBS is available free over the air. That means, assuming you’re within range of a good signal, you can get the games aired on CBS for free in HD with an antenna.
Looking to stream? Well, you have three options at your disposal:
1. CBSSports.com: You’ll be able to catch all the games streaming on their official site. However, if you’re looking to stream them on your TV, you’ll need an HDMI cable or some other means to transfer the stream.
2. March Madness Live App: The official app for March Madness is getting a big push this year. You can download the app and use it to view all CBS March Madness games. And if you have cable, you can log in to view the games from other stations.
3. CBS All Access: The new streaming service from CBS not only has a deep on-demand library, but it also provides a live stream of CBS in many markets. CBS All Access will be live streaming the March Madness games through the service. It’s available with a free trial and is $5.99 a month after that.
What About Games on the Other Stations?
Unfortunately, not all March Madness games will be on CBS. The other stations you’ll need to see the tournament in its entirety are TBS, TNT, and TruTV. None of these channels are free over-the-air, so using an antenna is out of the question. And the March Madness Live app won’t let you watch these games unless you authenticate with a cable provider. So now what?
Well, there are two options:
1. Sling TV—Sling TV is a streaming service run by Dish Network that offers live streams of 20+ pay-TV channels without a cable contract. These channels include a lot of popular stations like AMC and ESPN. But for the purposes of watching March Madness, Sling TV carries TBS and TNT in its base “Best of TV” package. This is available with a free 7-day trial. After that, it’s $20 per month, but you can cancel any time.
But what about the TruTV games? Normally, TruTV is available on Sling TV with a special add-on package that’s an additional $5 per month. However, Sling has announced that they’ll be moving TruTV to their basic package for the month, so you can watch all those games without paying extra.
2. PlayStation Vue—Sony’s streaming service has been making headlines as of late. They’ve lowered the base price to $39.99 per month and made the service available on Amazon Fire TV and iPads (it used to only be available on PlayStations). Those looking to watch March Madness without the cable commitment will be pleased to know that not only does Vue have TNT, TBS, and TruTV, but it also offers CBS.
So you can watch the entire tournament without cable.
The catch? It’s only available in seven major markets. So if you don’t live near one of the big cities listed here, well, you’re out of luck.
Information provided by Chris Brantner, founder of CutCableToday.com, a site dedicated to helping people find the programming they need without the expensive cable contract, including a comprehensive March Madness guide. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday.